The Flying Kangaroo has been operating flights via Darwin since services to London recommenced last November, instead of the pre-pandemic service via Perth.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the carrier worked closely with the Northern Territory Government to set up Darwin as an alternative hub, allowing passengers to arrive in or transit through the Territory capital as they returned home to Australia or travelled overseas to reunite with loved ones.
The Perth to London service was scheduled to revert to operating via Perth in April, but with the West Australian Government yet to confirm a reopening date for the state, Qantas will continue to operate the route via Darwin until at least June 2022, according to the carrier.
To streamline transit arrangements for passengers, Qantas will also continue to operate the Sydney to London flight via Darwin instead of through Singapore until the same time, according to the carrier.
Joyce said the support of the Northern Territory Government made it possible for Qantas to relaunch the key Australian–UK route and the extension provides the Northern Territory with the added bonus of capitalising on pent-up international inbound travel demand.
“The work of the Chief Minister and his team, and the cooperation of Darwin Airport, have made running and now extending this service possible.
“Because of their help, flying between Australia and London has been a lot easier than it might have been otherwise.
“This extension through to at least mid-June means the Top End has several months to properly leverage the opening up of Australia’s borders to all tourists. It’s a great opportunity to encourage thousands of visitors to stop off in Darwin to see what the NT has to offer,” Joyce said.
Qantas currently operates daily flights from both Melbourne and Sydney to London (via Darwin) on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that feature impressive Business, Premium and Economy cabins.